Africa’s share of global coffee production is dropping at a time when consumption is growing and farmers need government support to ensure the continent does not miss out on potential higher earnings in the future, delegates at a coffee conference said on Thursday.
Coffee is an important crop on the continent, bringing in hard currency and creating jobs in producer nations from Rwanda to Ivory Coast.
The continent’s share of world coffee production slipped to 14 percent in the 2012/13 crop year from a quarter in 1989, the Kenyan minister of agriculture Felix Koskei told a regional conference.
Producers on the continent, who grow both Arabica and Robusta, produced 16.7 million bags of coffee in 2012/13 from 19.1 million bags in 1989 even as global production rose to a high of 146.8 million in 2012/13, Koskei said.
“The decline in our production is happening against a backdrop of an increase in world coffee consumption which is growing at an average of 2 percent,” Koskei told the annual conference of African Fine Coffee Association (AFCA).
Over the medium-term, Africa could miss out on a potential boom in prices from a projected shortage of coffee, said Abdullah Bagersh, chairman of AFCA’s board.
“Over the next decade the statistics indicate that there will not be enough coffee for consumers because population is growing and production is not,” Abdullah said.
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